VAN NUYS (CBSLA) — Gage Roth, 31, remained in custody Wednesday after allegedly breaking into an apartment where he was found nude and attempting to break into another just hours before.
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It was a terrifying situation for the first family, whose security system captured the alleged break-in attempt. A neighbor noticed Roth outside of the home and the homeowner, Robert Hemingway, said he and his wife called police.
But Roth was not arrested.
“It doesn’t really make anybody in the community feel safe,” Hemingway said.
The Los Angeles Police Department said officers did respond to the call, but a detective said there was not enough evidence to prove Roth was attempting to break into the home because there were no pry marks or evidence of forced entry at the door.
Police said the on-scene officers were told they could have arrested Roth for possessing burglary tools, but he was released after being checked out by a paramedic for drugs.
“Cops come and they always kind of have that same response, ‘There’s only so much we can do,'” Hemingway said. “That’s getting old, and it doesn’t give you a whole lot of cause to want to call the next time.”READ MORE: LA City Inspectors Investigate SOLA Owned Building Near Downtown LA
Hemingway said he was frustrated because hours after leaving his home, Roth allegedly broke into another family’s apartment. He was found inside the apartment naked and even fought with the father before finally being arrested.
But one week after being arrested, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Roth would likely only face misdemeanor charges because there was not enough evidence to charge him with a felony.
“You almost feel guilty being fortunate,” Hemingway said. “We were able to send the guy away.”
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department jail records, Roth was arrested twice just days before the incident at the Hemingway’s home. He was first arrested on June 3 on suspicion of violating probation and again on June 16 on suspicion of brandishing a weapon.
Records show that Roth has been arrested a total of five times for burglary since 2019 and even served a short prison sentence in 2019 after breaking into a vehicle.
“How many more victims are going to have to happen before we go, ‘Well, we need to get this right or we need to change it,'” Hemingway said.
Late Wednesday, LAPD said the officers who first encountered Roth after the call from the Hemingway family could not have arrested him for burglary tools because the items he had did not meet the criteria. However, the department said it was still investigating both cases.MORE NEWS: LA Animal Hospital Alerts Public Of Overload In Emergency Vet Services
As for the Hemingways, they said they would continue to call police no matter what response they receive.